Pitching BI in difficult economic circumstances

linkedin EPM Business Intelligence

This brief article simply reprises a response I made to a question on the LinkedIn.com EPM – Business Intelligence group (you will need to be a menber of LinkedIn.com and the group to view the link).

The essence of the question was what key BI-related words would resonate with Executive teams. Here is what I said: –

“In an unfavourable economic climate, many companies will be thinking first about survival and defensive measures. Only the very best will consider this environment an opportunity, and the very best will already have established BI that this part of their corporate DNA. Let’s rule these paragons out and think about the rest of the herd.

If you are focussed on survival, then it is probably worth extending the metaphor to think about an animal that is in a daily life-or-death situation. It would want to have as much information about impending threats as possible (what can I see?, what can I hear?, what can I smell?, etc.). It will err on the side of caution assuming that half-glimpsed shapes are potential predators and act accordingly. It will want to understand its current environment (how far am I from a place to hide?, are there other animals around who might also be a target – reducing the risk for me?, what is the terrain like and how fast can I move over it?, are there any blind-spots around me?, etc.).

Translating this into a business arena, maybe you can pitch BI by saying that when every penny is precious, having an in-depth understanding of what you do, what it costs, and what value it generates is crucial. Also understanding trends in your book of business is important; am I starting to lose business, if so, what types and why?, are prices eroding, if so, for what products and in which territories?, where are the pain points?, are there any areas that are still doing well that I could focus on more?, etc.

BI can play a major part in identifying what is going well and what is going badly. It can also track the impact of your current tactics, be these aggressive or defensive. Maybe these are some themes that you could pick up on.

When the seas are very rough, having good navigational equipment becomes essential to avoid running aground. “


My earlier article focusing on whether the economic crisis will be positive for BI may also be of interest in this area.

Since writing this article, I have penned some others in the same area and also found a number of interesting pieces elsewhere on the web. In response to this I have created a WordPress category “BI and the Economic Crisis“, which will hopefully provide a hub for this important area.

4 thoughts on “Pitching BI in difficult economic circumstances

  1. BI has always been about delivering people, processes and technology that can either: reduce costs; sell more; &/or reduce risk. I think some technical people have often lost sight of that over the last 20 years!! So you make some excellent points Peter.

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